American Idols: Where Are They Now?

Now that “American Idol XIV” is airing, what are the chances for a contestant to achieve “superstar” status, or even just a good career? The iconic TV show of the 80’s advertised as a “rags to riches” success story; a dream come true for someone off the street to make it in “how Biz.  So how did it work out?

Carrie Underwood is certainly the “AI” success story.   She auditioned with “Could’ve Been” for the show and, despite the song’s title, eventually achieved stardom. Her debut album went platinum seven times and she collecting awards and endorsements on her way to becoming the biggest “AI” contestant of all time.

But not all made that “rags to riches” leap.

Sanjaya Malakar’s  primary assets seemed to be boyish charm, but with middling talent. Sanjaya was able to parlay his American Idol appearance and boyish appeal to author a “memoir”, at an age when most kids his age were just dealing with pimples.  Sanjaya did appear on a reality-TV show, “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here”, but now, in his mid 2O’s, he reportedly is working as a bartender.

Taylor Hicks was on the opposite end of the typical “Idol” performer. At the age of 29, the rumbled crooner with a harmonica garnered a legion of followers, and appeared to have “Idol winner” momentum.  But after his “Idol” win, he was dropped by his record label when his debut album was the lowest-selling album of any “AI” winner.

Kellie Pickler, singer and roller-skating waitress, finished sixth and was eliminated, yet she went on to release a gold record and an album.

As entertainment – and wish fulfillment – “American Idol” is a huge success; but as far as launching the careers of people “off the street”, it’s hardly “Idyllic”.